Evolutionary Ecology of Human Life History
- Focus on ultimate causes (non-biomedicine). Why and how did we develop a trait? What is the
advantage of having this trait?
- What are the social and behavioral effects of the trait on evolution of life-history?
- First need to determine ecology of typical ancestral population. Then decide if changing environment
was responsible for evolution of a particular trait.
- There was no clear-cut ancestral ecology so used African Village (1950-1975). Emphasis was placed on
picking population with strong social dynamic. Culture is just as important as ecology. Blah blah blah...
- Look at stages of human life history through ecology perspective.
- Evolutionary ecologists predict that human life history is unique because of our large brain. Other
primates have much smaller brains relative to body size.
- Grandmotherhypothesis: women stop reproducing to help their own kids reproduce.
- Parents can start weaning (stop breastfeeding) sooner and grandmother can take care of kid so mom
can get kid 2 going.
- Grandmother being present lowers average child bearing age of mother by 1.
- Reduce competition amongst grandchildren. Survival of children that had living grandparents